Braised Chicken with Rice and Spinach


AND THE WINNER OF THE COOKBOOK IS…..  SUSAN WOODRUFF!!!  Susan, if you could please email your address to me, I will forward it to Elizabeth Songster and she will, in turn, send you the autographed copy of this book.  Congratulations!!!

This post is going to highlight three items:  One, I cannot for the life of me follow a recipe to the letter.  Two, recipes that may be tinkered with and easily adapted are often my favorites. Three, the cookbook, A Greek Journey With Fork and Pen, by Georgia Cone and Elizabeth Songster offers many of these flexible recipes along with a delightful story of two sisters, their travels, and their Greek Heritage.

This story began when Elizabeth, looking to promote her new book, kindly mailed me a signed copy.  When she first contacted me, I said that I would be happy to cook something from her book so I could truly review it.  Elizabeth and her sister’s recipes are sprinkled in between stories of their travels and adventures with their husbands making this an endearing memoir as much as a cookbook.

In terms of the recipes, what caught my attention right away was the frequency of uncomplicated, one-dish meals that looked wholesome and flavorful.  As I paged through the various recipes, ranging from Shrimp and Feta, Chicken in Wine, and Greek Honey Cake, I immediately marked eight entree recipes that not only looked delicious, but appeared to be versatile, easily-prepared meals — perfect for busy weekdays.

The recipe which called my name the loudest was Braised Rooster with Noodles.  I mean, The Fountain Avenue Kitchen’s logo is a rooster!  Now, I return to my first comment about not being able to follow a recipe. Although the recipe, as written, looked absolutely fabulous, I tinkered a bit as I tend to do.  Instead of using a whole chicken, cut up, I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs and I tweaked the flavorings a bit.  As I was about to add the pasta called for in the original recipe, I thought about how my husband adores chicken and rice. He was actually home for dinner — not traveling for work as he is most weekdays — so, in his honor, I swapped the pasta for brown rice.  When it occurred to me that I had a bag of fresh, curly spinach from our farmers market that needed to be used, I added that at the end.  Now I didn’t have to make a salad!  We truly had an all-in-one meal!

The feedback?  Glowing!  One son asked a friend to join us for dinner.  Turned out he doesn’t like tomatoes but he liked this meal!  My younger son, who tends to only like the chunky parts of soup over the broth declared this broth, and I quote, “Amazing!”  I loved the flavors, the ease of preparation, and the way I could adapt the recipe so easily based on what I had on hand and what we were in the mood for.  That said, there would be nothing wrong with cooking the recipe as written.  I am quite sure it would be equally delicious.

One final note:  Due to my schedule, I prepared this recipe mid afternoon and allowed it to sit for an hour or two before reheating gently and serving.  I like how the dish thickened to something like a stew–yet with just the right amount of soupiness.  The extra time also allowed the flavors to meld and develop a bit more.  So, if time allows, feel free to prepare in advance, even undercooking the rice just a little so that is does not become mushy upon reheating.  As you can imagine, leftovers were equally delicious…and my new broth lover requested them.

To view the recipe which inspired this tasty one-pot meal, or to learn more about the book and perhaps purchase your own copy, click here.  And a special thank you to Elizabeth and Georgia for sharing their stories, their love of food, and their delicious Greek-inspired recipes in a truly delightful book to which I will certainly return.

NOTE:  Elizabeth and Georgia, authors of the cookbook pictured below, have graciously offered to give away a signed copy of their book.  To enter, simply leave a comment below.  The winning name will be chosen at random on Sunday, February 24, 2013.  Once announced, the winner will have 48 hours to forward a mailing address to me. If there is no response, another winner will then be chosen.  Good luck!

Braised Chicken with Rice and Spinach
Although this recipe requires a slow braise, it is largely a hands-off meal. The slow cooking will reward you with exceptional flavor in this wholesome, one-pot dinner.
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  1. 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  2. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1 large onion, chopped
  4. 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  5. 1 cup water
  6. 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh, minced)
  7. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  9. 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  10. 3/4 cup (5 ounces) brown rice (see notes)
  11. 5 ounces (about 4 cups, lightly packed) curly spinach, roughly chopped (could use other dark, leafy green of choice)
  12. 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  13. Parmesan or Manchego cheese, for serving
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Sautรฉ the onions for about 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften and brown a bit on the edges.
  2. Add the chicken, and cook for about 5 minutes, browning on both sides.
  3. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the water, thyme, sugar, salt and pepper. (I adjusted over the course of cooking and found a total of 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and a scant half teaspoon of fresh pepper to be perfect for our tastes.)
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
  5. At this point, I removed the chicken to a plate and half shredded, half cut it into bite-size pieces, and then returned to the pot.
  6. Finally add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, then add the brown rice. Cover and continue cooking over low heat (you want the mixture to be at a very gentle simmer) for another 45-50 minutes or until the rice is cooked but is not mushy. (Check early a time or two as the rice will continue to cook in the hot broth for a few more minutes after being removed from the heat.)
  7. Stir in the chopped spinach, the balsamic vinegar, and check for seasoning.
  8. Serve with a sprinkling of cheese, if desired.
  1. Using 3/4 cup of rice will yield a finished product that is like a thick soup after the mixture sits for a few minutes. If you would prefer to use white rice, you will only need to simmer for 20 minutes or so. If you use pasta, as was done in the original recipe, you may only need to simmer 10-15 minutes, depending on the type of pasta being used.
The Fountain Avenue Kitchen

This is the original recipe which caught my eye from the beginning. This is also what any recipes I follow end up looking like!

This one-pot meal is also included in Food Done Light’s Thursday’s Treasures recipe collection.

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  1. Beverley

    Great recipe and I like the tweeks. Brown rice is much preferred by me too. The book looks great and how lovely for them to give you one for a give a way. Another meal we are going to enjoy. Xoxo

  2. Jackie

    Currently living on an island in Greece for a year and trying to learn as much about the cooking here as I can…would help to have an cookbook written in English when I get back to help me continue to learn!

  3. Roberta David

    This sounds like a delicious meal! I can’t wait to try it and I know my family will love it. Hubby is Lebanese so he’ll think it’s great! I’d love to win the cookbook!

  4. Judi Rogers

    This looks and sounds great !!! Will certainly have to try this….and would LOVE the cookbook as well. Thank you

  5. Kathy Hoffman

    This cookbook sounds wonderful! We are trying to eat healthier because both my husband an I are cancer survivors and my father, whip lives with us had quad heart bypass then stroke. Healthier foods mean healthier bodies. ๐Ÿ™‚
    My family prefers white meat so could I use boneless skinless chicken breasts?

  6. Lisa H

    This looks amazing. I just used your chicken tortilla soup recipe last Friday and was amazed at how good it turned out! Would love to have your cookbook ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Ann

      Thanks so much, Lisa. I am glad you liked the tortilla soup. We really love that one, too! This braised chicken recipe was inspired by the cookbook pictured here although I did not author the book. I sure enjoyed reviewing it though!

  7. RaDonna Cutrer

    I always look to expand in cooking. Trying new recipes and winning this cookbook will ensure it ๐Ÿ™‚ good luck everyone .

  8. Karen Maynard

    I would like to make this week, could I substitute wild rice? My husband will only eat this. All the ingredients sound delicious !

    1. Ann

      Wild rice should work beautifully, Karen. It may take a few extra minutes of cooking, so just check occasionally to be sure it is cooked thoroughly. Hope you enjoy!

  9. Deb

    this sounds so good, am anxious to try it. I think I would like to try it with white meat rather than dark, do you see any affect on the taste with that?

    1. Ann

      I think it would be fine with chicken breasts, Deb. I mention in the recipe that you can cook slightly less time with breast meat, although if you keep the heat low and don’t boil, a slow braise should not dry it out. Hope you enjoy!

  10. Patricia Edwards

    This sounds a great recipe. My husband seems to have gone a bit fussy about eating since having a stroke, I’m always struggling to find different ideas. I think this may fit into my diminishing recipe ideas

  11. ROS Thompson

    My husband commented recently that we have the same meals over and over again. I resolved to rectify this and this recipe will be perfect to help me on my way


    Love chicken in our house but I tend to repeat dishes alot, so it will be good to make a different dish which looks delicious


    A nutritious tasty dish that the gluten free members of my family can enjoy…woo woo , no having to cook a seperate meal for them : )

  14. Alison Green

    I love these sort of recipes and with 6 of us to feed anything easy to make and that stretched the meat further is a great recipe. Looks like the sort of thing I can adapt over summer to include the various veggies we grow as they come into season ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Marilyn Wheatley

    Hooray for a book with a gluten free section for people who can’t tolerate gluten. There are quite a few of us about! Thank you.

  16. Laura Dawn Gud

    I too love simple, easily-switched or overall ‘accommodating’ cooking! That’s why I adore your blog and the recipes you share. This book must be incredible! Maybe I’ll get lucky on the draw?

    Laura ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Rila Hackett

    Thanks, Ann! This is my next soup recipe to try…. I’ve written the ingredients down and I’m off to the supermarket to buy them.

    In terms of leafy green veggies, would kale work?

  18. Beth Wookil

    OMG that looks so good, and so easy to cook…I can just imagine the mouth watering recipes in the book and everyday I thank Nicole V. for turning me on to your site…..I am so glad you are nice enough to let us see what your up to everyday….now I’m starving

  19. LeeAnn Maul

    I have tried, and successfully managed, to not repeat a recipe for long periods of time.. Ive gone 6 months at a time. I introduce my sons to meals from around the world. We ONLY eat home cooked meals. I can say that I do NOT have enough/many Greek recipes. I would be ecstatic to receive a copy of this. My sons are now just grown (earliest 20’s) and one is Autistic. One pot recipes are his fav because they arent complicated. This would make his life so mich simpler. Ty for the chance. Ps. My email is not properly working. Feel free to find me on FB. Im on your list. (Im the one with the huge name;) ty again).

  20. Judy Lyle

    I love soups and this looks like one I will be trying in the near future. what could be better in a cookbook – a good read and good food. Thanks for sharing.

  21. elisa avellana

    aghhhh…I went to the Greek Festival in Miami yesterday and I saw the book and I didnt buy it cause I didnt know if it was good…:((((((((((( I loooove greek food….im gonna cry..:(((

  22. Sara

    This recipe looks so good! I do believe that I am going to have try it sometime this week. If the rest of the recipes in the cookbook look as good as this one, I would love to win it!

  23. Chris Hudyma

    Being Greek I look forward to checking out this book. When my Greek Thea’s cook daily meals they are often simple, healthy and simple dishes that can be reheated and eaten over a couple days. Nothing is wasted and everything tastes better the second day when the flavors get a chance to blend. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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